Tuesday, September 20, 2005

As Stephanie from Full House says, How Rude!

On Saturday night, I attended a "Celebration of the Paris Review," a sort of Wheee for the new editor/new design/and all that in the lovely Celeste Bartos Forum space, as part of a great series, Live from the NYPL.

The Hungry March Band started things off with a bang, with hoops-a-throwing and tiny saxophones-a-playing, and trumpets blazing and songs from crazy Yugoslavian movies. I'm totally having them play at my sweet sixteen going on sweet twenty-four.

Philip Gourevitch talked to the fabulous Miranda July and the ubiquitous Salman Rushdie. Miranda July read a beautiful story called Birthmark that's included in The Paris Review Book of People with Problems which I'm thoroughly wrapping myself up in, you know, non-literally (or as a metaphor, does it means literally still works?). I've been skipping around and it's got some wonderfully quiet and wistful/poignant almost to the point of ruthless stories. It's really light years, the difference between hearing a story read by a skillful reader and reading it on the page. July brought her text to such life with all of its edged humor and her gift for dialogue and inner thought processes that I noticed that I had to slow myself down with the book to catch the same sort of subtleties. I guess I've become a skimmer. Boo.

Anyways, Miranda July was the first half of the program and there was some Q&A with the audience. At one point, an old lady stood up, presumably to ask a question, and she sorta screeched out,"WHERE'S SALMAN RUSHDIE??" to the collective horror of everybody else in the room. Comments throughout the evening after that incident in support of July, who for about one second looked as if she were punched in the stomach, were made profusely by later questioners, audience members, and the host. Rushdie at the podium in the second half singled the old lady out, calling her a philistine and decried her behavior and there was much applause. He went on to read a bit from his new novel Shalimar the Clown and continued to be an entertaining, interesting, if slightly self-aggrandizing (hey, he's Salman Rushdie) interview subject.

I got my book signed by Miranda July because yknow, I liked her movie an awful lot and I wanted to say "Hello, I liked your movie an awful lot." Other fans had brought her shirts, cds, lovelier comments. Another old person just cut in line to speak to her. When I went home, I saw that the signature after "For Janet" was two squigglies. It could have been anything. I don't know why, but that made me a tiny bit sad but it's okay.

Here's a picture of the whole crew, brass band and all, that I found on Flickr.


walter said...

that link about chik-lit sounds furious

mosh said...

Hey, that Flickr photo is by my alter ego! Goodness knows there are enough of us to go around, anyway.